Action needed to prevent homelessness

Thursday, 25 September 2014 - 12:21pm

Homeless Link reacts to the latest government figures which show that the ending of assured shorthold tenancy is now the number one cause of homelessness. 

Photograph: Tim Green (Flickr)
Photograph: Tim Green (Flickr)

Government figures published today show that between 1 April and 30 June 2014, 26,940 application were made to councils for help with homelessness. This represents a 5% decrease on the same period in 2013, but of these, less than half were accepted (49%).

For the first time, private landlords terminating contracts is the main reason for homelessness. This now accounts for 30% of all cases and has more than doubled since the same quarter in 2010 (1,460 to 3,930). The private rented sector is not only insecure, it is also increasingly inaccessible to those on low incomes, with rising rents and landlords being unwilling to rent to benefit claimants contributing to the problem. 

A shortage of affordable housing also remains a problem. Households placed in temporary accommodation has increased by 6% compared to the same quarter in 2013, and those being moved to another local authority has increased by 26%.

Commenting, Jacqui McCluskey, Director of Policy and Communications for Homeless Link, said:

“A reduction in the number of households applying for help with homelessness should be welcomed. However, in all too many cases homelessness could easily be prevented. 

“Our members have told us that insecurity in the private rented sector is one of their biggest concerns and today’s figures echo this. We need to keep people in their homes through investment in better advice and increased security and rights for tenants.

“The fact that so many people are being placed in temporary accommodation should send another clear signal that there is a desperate shortage of homes that are genuinely affordable to those in greatest need. The alternative of housing people in accommodation like B&Bs is not only unsafe, but is also expensive to taxpayers.”

Compared to Q2 2013, the latest stats show that in Q2 2014:

  • Applications are down by 5%
  • Acceptances are down by 2%
  • Rate of acceptance is 49%
  • Acceptances for 16 – 24 year olds are down 12%
  • Use of temporary accommodation has risen by 6%
  • Households placed in other LA areas has increased 26%
  • The proportion of acceptances due to the loss of an assured shorthold tenancy continues to rise, now 30%